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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "RL 225"
COURSE NAME: "Mystics, Saints, and Sinners: Studies in Medieval Catholic Culture"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2019
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Erik Walters
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: M 9:15-12:00 PM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES: Partially on-site; activity fee: €10 or $15
OFFICE HOURS:

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
Through a close study of both primary and secondary materials in theology, spirituality, aesthetics, and social history, this course will introduce students to the major forms and institutions of religious thought and practice in medieval, Christian Europe (from Saint Augustine to the rise of humanism). The course will begin by studying the theological foundations of self and world in the work of Augustine and Pseudo-Dionysius, before turning to an elucidation of central religious institutions such as the papacy (and its relationship to imperial Rome), the monastery (we will study the rule of Saint Benedict and visit a Benedictine monastery), the cathedral (we will visit San Giovanni in Laterano and Saint Peter’s), and the  university (and the scholastic philosophy to which it gave rise).  We will then turn to alternative expressions of medieval religious faith in the work of several mystics, notably Meister Eckhart and Angela of Foligno.  Finally we will study the reactions of the Church to the rise of science in the fifteenth century (we will look at the trial of Giordano Bruno) and will end with an appraisal of the continuity and renewal of Renaissance Humanism and its influence on the humanities as studied in a Liberal Arts Curriculum today.
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:
The course will introduce students to the religious ideas and practices, philosophical and theological developments, and institutional changes and controversies that underlie the evolution and establishment of the Christian culture in Mediaeval Europe. Readings and analyses of New Testament sources in translation will serve as a comparative framework for understanding the development of Scholasticism, the highest intellectual expression of Mediaeval economic, legal, philosophical, religious, sociological, and theological thought. The course will lead students through the historical origins of the papal institution (and the political implications of its spiritual and temporal authority), and the rise and establishment of monasticism and universities, where scholastic culture was developed. This course includes several site visits that will compliment readings and class discussions, which will delve deeply into philosophical, religious, and theological ideas and debates of the historical period in question. Each of the Mid-Term and Final Exams ia a 3,000 word essay response to 10-20 questions based on lecture material, course texts, and some combination of the two. These exams will test the student's capacity for analysis and synthesis of course lecture and text material and develop critical thinking and its comprehensible communication through English composition. Specific "Mystics, Saints, and Sinners" will be addressed directly through individual course participants' in aula oral and visual "Research Project Presentations" based on outside research and sources annotated by the instructor's further lecture material. This will examine students' capacity for using current multimedia platforms in demonstrating and communicating the results of that outside research and the coherent and comprehensible communication of that outside research through public speaking.
LEARNING OUTCOMES:
Study of primary New Testament texts in translation will make students acquainted with the most significant philosophical questions produced by the Scholastic culture in the writings of prominent early and medieval Christian thinkers. Students will also develop an understanding of the development and establishment of the papacy, the monastic culture and institutional innovations, such as financial, governmental, religious, and university institutions. Writing and public speaking skills will also be improved by reflection and discussion upon deeply philosophical, religious, and theological questions. Students will learn not only about the historical period in question, but how the period came into and eventually went out of existence as part of human civilization's historical progression. Students' capacity for analyzing and synthesizing course lecture material, texts, and outside research and the coherent and comprehensible communication of that material through the written and spoken word serves to develop the skill of critical thinking.
TEXTBOOK:
NONE
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Western Society and the Church in the Middle AgesSouthernPenguin9780140137552 Kindle version is accepted.
The Consolation of Philosophy of BoethiusWalshOxford University Press0198152280 9780198152286 0192838830 9780192838834  Kindle version is accepted.

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
Mid-Term ExamThe Mid-Term Exam will test students' research and note-taking skills through an analysis of assigned readings and class lecture notes. The exam is divided into two parts: 1) questions to be answered directly from the selected required readings handed out in class (New Testament selected readings). Students must cite the chapter & verse number from which they are providing answers; 2) questions to be answered from class lecture notes including on-site visits. This assignment is worth 25% of the final course grade. Mid-Term Exams are to be type-written in Times New Roman 12 point font, single-spaced, with fully justified margins, and stapled. Errors in grammar, punctuation, syntax, diction, composition, and formatting will be deducted for a total of 15 points out of 100. Student names are to appear nowhere on the written exam. Rather, students will submit written exams using their JCU ID number. This process is to ensure transparency and impartiality in evaluating and grading written exams. Exams are due in class no later than 11:15 AM on Monday, 14 October 2019. Late, emailed, and hand-written exams will not be accepted and will result in a failing grade for the assignment. In case of legitimate and documented emergency situations communicated directly to the course instructor from JCU's Academic Dean's office, late submissions will be accepted within 48 hours beyond the published deadline and will result in one full letter grade deduction beyond the actual grade awarded for the exam.25%
Research Project PresentationEach student will select one topic from a list of topics in class on Monday, 30 September 2019, which will accompany the "Mid-Term Exam" and present a research project in class on Monday, 25 November 2019. Presentations are to be approximately 5 minutes. Presentations will address the following regarding the selected topic in question: 1) Historical and geographical contextualization of the selected topic (When and where?); 2) Biographical overview of the topic (Who?); 3) Three major issues, contributions, and/or controversies surrounding this topic (What?); 4) Reasons this topic is considered to be important during or after his or her lifetime (How?); 5) What, if any, relevance does this figure have today? (Why?) Presentations will be evaluated on the quality of the research itself as communicated in the oral presentation as well as the quality of public speaking and communication skills. Project presentations must use some form of visual/audio media (PowerPoint, etc.). Project presentations may not be presented on any other day. If a student is unable to present, then a grade of 00% "F" will be awarded.25%
Final ExamThe "Final Exam" will test students' critical thinking skills through an analysis and synthesis of class lecture notes and on-site visits. The assignment is divided into several questions, each of which is worth ten points. This project is worth 25% of the course grade. Exams are to be type-written in Times New Roman 12 point font, single-spaced, with fully justified margins, and stapled. Errors in grammar, punctuation, syntax, diction, composition, and formatting will be deducted for a total of 15 points out of 100. Student names are to appear nowhere on the written exam. Rather, students will submit written exams using their JCU ID number. This process is to ensure transparency and impartiality in evaluating and grading written projects. "Final Exams" are due in the examination room by the end of the exam period on the date assigned to be determined by the registrar's office during the semester in progress. Late, emailed, and hand-written exams will not be accepted and will result in a failing grade for the assignment.25%
Attendance, Participation, and Site VisitsThis course is "partially" on-site. Half of all 14 course lecture sessions are on-site. Class attendance is mandatory as is active participation in class lectures and on site visits of the following 5 venues: 1) ancient Roman imperial necropolis in Vaticano beneath St. Peter's Basilica ("scavi") and the Basilica of St. Peter itself; 2) 1st century Domus, 2nd-3rd century Mithraeum, and 4th century basilica all beneath the 11th-12th century church of Saint Clement; 3) 2nd-3rd century catacombs, 4th century Constantinian basilica, 4th century mausoleum of Princess Constance, and 7th century church of St. Agnes in Via Nomentana; 4) the Franciscan-Capuchin "Bone Church" in via Veneto and the 4th century Basilica of Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill; 5) the Vatican Museums including "early entry" into the Sistine Chapel. One absence (including "emergency situations") will result automatically in a grade of 94% "A" for this assessment method/assignment. Two absences (including "emergency situations") will result automatically in a grade of 84% "B" for this assessment method/assignment. Three absences (including "emergency situations") will result automatically in a grade of 74% "C" for this assessment method/assignment. Four absences (including "emergency situations") will result in a grade of 69% "D" for this assessment method/assignment. Five or more absences (including "emergency situations") will result in a grade of 59% "F" for this assessment method/assignment. (N.B. - "Emergency situations", which do not include "permit of stay" appointments, are legitimately documented instances communicated by JCU's Academic Dean's Office directly to the course instructor via email).25%

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
A Excellent. Highly competent work of this quality directly and completely addresses the questions and issues raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information and content. This type of work demonstrates a thorough analysis and synthesis of material and a capacity for critical thinking. (94-100% A; 90-93% A-)
B Above Average to Very Good. This is a competent level of performance and directly addresses the questions and issues raised. There is demonstration of some ability to analyze and synthesize coherently the material and to think critically. The work does not suffer from major errors, omissions, imprecisions, and/or inaccuracies. (87-89% B+; 84-86% B; 80-83% B-)
C Average to Good. This is an acceptable level of performance and demonstrates work that is clear but limited with errors, omissions, imprecisions, inaccuracies, and/or a basic anaylisis and synthesis of the material and the process of critical thinking. (77-79% C+; 74-76% C; 70-73% C-)
D Below Average to Unsatisfactory. This is an unacceptable level of performance and demonstrates work that is replete with errors, omissions, imprecisions, inaccuracies and/or a coherent grasp of the material. Important information is omitted and irrelevant information is included. (60-69% D)
F Failure. This work demonstrates little to no engagement with the material. The work is irrelevant, incomprehensible, incomplete, or is the result of unsubmitted and/or penalized assignments. (0-59% F)

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:
This course is "partially" on-site. Half of all 14 course lecture sessions are on-site. Class attendance is mandatory as is active participation in class lectures and on site visits of the following 5 venues: 1) ancient Roman imperial necropolis in Vaticano beneath St. Peter's Basilica ("scavi") and the Basilica of St. Peter itself; 2) 1st century Domus, 2nd-3rd century Mithraeum, and 4th century basilica all beneath the 11th-12th century church of Saint Clement; 3) 2nd-3rd century catacombs, 4th century Constantinian basilica, 4th century mausoleum of Princess Constance, and 7th century church of St. Agnes in Via Nomentana; 4) 12th-13th century church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, the 14th century palace of the Porcari family, the nearby 2nd century Pantheon, and the 4th century Basilica of Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill; 5) the Vatican Museums including "early entry" into the Sistine Chapel. One absence will result automatically in a grade of 94% "A" for this assessment method/assignment (including "emergency situations"). Two absences will result automatically in a grade of 84% "B" for this assessment method/assignment (including "emergency situations"). Three absences will result automatically in a grade of 75% "C" for this assessment method/assignment (including "emergency situations"). Four absences (including "emergency situations") will result in a grade of 69% "D" for this assessment method/assignment. Five or more absences (including "emergency situations") will result in a grade of 59% "F" for this assessment method/assignment. (N.B. - "Emergency situations", which do not include "permit of stay" appointments, are legitimately documented cases communicated directly by JCU's Academic Dean's Office to the course instructor via email).
ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE

SessionSession FocusReading AssignmentOther AssignmentMeeting Place/Exam Dates
WEEK 1 Monday 2 SeptemberIntroduction to the Course: Who, What, When, Where, How, and Why? Overview: Course prospectus, syllabus, schedule and expectations. Who are “We”? Why study “Religion”, “History”, the “Catholic Church”, and the "Middle" Ages? What are "mystics", "saints", and "sinners" in Christianity and "Medieval" Catholic culture?SyllabusIN AULA09:15-11:15
WEEK 2 Monday 09 SeptemberSEMIOTICS and PARADIGMS: How do human societies form? How do basic needs and wants take on religious symbolism, significance, and systems? HERMENEUTICS: Methodologies for studying objects of inquiry: philology, epistemology, metaphysics, history, and culture. PONTIFEX MAXIMUS and IMPERATOR: “Building Bridges”: The world’s oldest, continuously surviving, and most important title and office (8th century BCE – 1st century CE). Ancient “Eternal” Rome: from the Roman monarchy, through the Republican SPQR, to the Imperial Period; Roman Law and Religion.Previous Lecture MaterialIN AULA08:30-11:15
WEEK 3 Monday 16 SeptemberSITE VISIT ONE: Saint Agnes "outside the Walls": second and third century catacombs; fourth century Constantinian basilica; fourth century mausoleum of Princess Constance; seventh century church of Saint Agnes (Rome’s FIRST medieval church).Previous Lecture MaterialIN SITUMeeting Point and Time: in front of Santa Maria degli Angeli Church in Piazza della Repubblica at 09:00 AM SHARP! End time at 12:00 (plus 1 hour round-trip travel time)
WEEK 4 Monday 23 SeptemberCHRIST, ROCK, and VICAR: The world’s second oldest, continuously surviving, and most important title and office (2nd century BCE – 1st century CE). Ancient “Roman” Jerusalem: Mosaic Law; the “Sanhedrin”; "Church", "Peter", and “Christ” in the Christian New Testament. The Fifth Gospel: “Incarnation & Resurrection”: Religion’s Astrological and Astronomical origins, and humanity’s most examined human artifact. Othonia, Sudarion, and Sindon: did Jesus “of Nazareth” or Jesus “Christ” exist?Previous Lecture Material • 1 Cor 15, 1-14; Mt 16, 13-20; Mt 27, 57-61; Jn 20,1-10; Jn 20,30-31; Jn 21,24-25IN AULA08:30-11:15
WEEK 5 Monday 30 SeptemberDARK AGES (4th – 9th centuries CE): The metamorphosis of Ancient Rome into Christendom. The Islamic Caliphate vs. the “Barbarians” vs. the Merovingians and Carolingians; the birth of the “Holy Roman Empire” and the “Papal States”; monasticism and the “schola”.Previous Lecture MaterialIN AULA08:30-11:15
WEEK 6 Monday 7 OctoberSITE VISIT TWO: Saint Clement: first century domus; second-third century mithraeum; fourth century Constantinian basilica; eleventh-twelfth century church of Saint Clement; ninth century church and monastery of Santi Quattro Coronati: Chapel of Saint Sylvester.Previous Lecture MaterialIN SITUMeeting Point and Time: "Colosseo" Metro stop "B" at 09:00 AM SHARP! End time at 12:00 (plus 1 hour round trip travel time)
WEEK 7 Monday 14 OctoberMid-Term Exam: Four weeks in addition to exam time is afforded to the completion of this assignment (25% or course grade), which is due in class no later than 11:15 AM on Monday, 14 October 2019.MID-TERM EXAMIN AULA08:30-11:15 AM on Monday, 14 October 2019
WEEK 8 Monday 21 OctoberMEDIEVAL DEBATE ONE: "De Iure Pontificio vs. De Iure Divino": the feudal system and lay investiture; the "Dictatus Papae", the "Magna Charta", and the "Unam Sanctam". IN AULA 08:30-11:15
WEEK 9 Monday 28 OctoberMEDIEVAL DEBATE TWO: "The Buying and Selling of Indulgences": the cult of martyrs, saints, and relics; the sacrament of "Confession, Penance, and Reconciliation"; the Jubilee of 1300, the Proto-Reformers, and the Proto-Rinascimento. MEDIEVAL DEBATE THREE: "Fides vs. Ratio": the medieval university and the office of the "Inquisition"; the "Crusades"; the ancients' "Cosmological" argument; Anselm's "Ontological" argument; Aquinas' "Five Ways".Previous Lecture MaterialIN AULA08:30-11:15
WEEK 10 Monday 04 NovemberSITE VISIT THREE: Medieval Religious Orders: Benedictine Monks & Franciscan and Dominican Friars. The Franciscan Cappuchin Friars' "Bone Church" on the Quirinal Hill and the Benedictine Monks' Saint Anselm and the Dominican Friars' Saint Sabina on the Aventine Hill.Previous Lecture MaterialIN SITUMeeting Point and Time: Piazza Barberini at 09:00 AM SHARP! End time 12:00 (plus 1 hour round trip travel time)
WEEK 11 Monday 11 NovemberSITE VISIT FOUR: the Vatican Museums including the Medieval Apostolic Palace (Renaissance Rooms of Raffaello) and the Medieval Sistine Chapel (Michelangelo's Renaissance Ceiling and "Last Judgment" scene).Previous Lecture MaterialIN SITUMeeting Point and Time: Vatican Museums entrance in Viale Vaticano at 07:30 AM SHARP! End time 12:00 (plus 1 hour round trip travel time)
WEEK 12 Monday 18 NovemberResearch Project Presentations: Research Finalization and Project Preparation (this compensates for in situ lecture days that extend overtime in order to fulfill total contact hours.)Previous Lecture MaterialDOMICILIO"Research Project Presentations" DUE at 08:00 AM sharp on 25 November. End time 11:15 AM.
WEEK 13 Monday 25 November"Research Project Presentation" DUE at 08,00 AM SHARP! Course Evaluations. End time 11:15 AM.Previous Lecture Material.IN AULA"Research Project Presentations" DUE at 08:00 AM sharp on 25 November. End time 11:15 AM.
WEEK 14 Monday 02 DecemberSITE VISIT FIVE: the "Scavi" beneath, the "Dome" above, and the "Basilica" of St. Peter in Vaticano.Previous Lecture Material.IN SITU Meeting Point and Time: the obelisk in St. Peter's Square at 08:00 AM SHARP! End time 12:00 (plus one hour round trip travel time)
WEEK 15 Monday, 09 through Friday, 13 DecemberWhether you study hard or hardly study, I sincerely wish you all the best!FINAL EXAMDue “in aula” in the room, at the time, and on the date to be determined by the Registrar’s Office during JCU's Final Exam Week (Monday, 09 through Friday, 13 December). Four weeks in addition to the exam period will be afforded to the completion of this assessment method/assignment (25% of course grade)."Final Exam" DUE! TBD